As a child and as an adult, I participated in the “telephone game” at get-togethers.  As many of you probably know, the “telephone game” begins with one person whispering a message to another person, who then whispers it to another person until the whispered message reaches the last participant in the game. The last person then states aloud the message received. The originator of the message then states what the original message was.

The game’s fun is hearing how the original message changed as it passed from person to person. Participants in the game can laugh at the changes because it has been a game. 

However, in everyday life, the “telephone game” also occurs resulting in misquotes, misunderstandings, false rumors, and hard feelings. The game takes place in families, neighborhoods, jobs, churches, politics, etc. but not always on purpose. 

The “telephone game” should make us aware of the fact that because humans have different backgrounds and experiences, they vary in their interpretations of what they hear and see and feel. 

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...

2 replies on “A Telephone Game Every Day”

  1. I always enjoy Peggy Tarr’s comments on events and social practices. The Telephone game seems very much in as she comments in her article. We hear what we think was said, not what was really stated. Thank you, Peggy , for your insight.

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